Ancient ruins have a very special kind of beauty: each ruin tells an elliptical tale of a civilization of the past, leaving you to fill in the gaps with your imagination and what you know of the history.

Oftentimes, those ruins that have been preserved are sites of great importance: palaces, temples, and castles where great leaders and villainous despots enjoyed the fruits of their empire before an inevitable fall from glory. To visit and walk in their steps is a spooky privilege indeed!

Perhaps it’s because these mysteries run so deep that it is so satisfying to witness the reconstruction of seven notable ancient ruins in this stunning new series of animated gifs from Expedia.

The Parthenon

Millions of people visit this ancient Greek temple each year, yet The Parthenon’s not displayed anything like its true beauty since incurring serious damage in the 17th century Great Turkish War. Those trusty Doric columns are still in place – and here’s a look at what they used to support.

7 Ancient Ruins Around the World, Reconstructed

Nohoch Mul Pyramid (Coba)

Having been left to the jungle for nearly five centuries, Nohoch Mul has lost much of its original splendor. It is two thousand years old, after all! The adventurous can still climb the 120 steps to the top of the world’s second biggest Mayan pyramid, though the path is somewhat eroded and require a lightness of foot. Once you get there, you’ll have fine views of the Macanxoc Lagoon in the east and Cobá Lagoon to the southwest, giving a good idea how the site of the Coba Ruins came to be of such spiritual importance.

7 Ancient Ruins Around the World, Reconstructed

Temple of Jupiter

The hub of religious life in Pompeii before the Roman town was consumed by the neighboring volcano, this temple to the god of the sky and thunder is in rather a sorry state these days. Architecture students will appreciate the chance to see the temple’s original footprint, at least! While Pompeii is worth a good long visit for a glimpse back through time at how the Romans lived, you can witness the might of the original temple at its best in this fascinating animated reconstruction.

7 Ancient Ruins Around the World, Reconstructed

Milecastle 39 (Hadrian’s Wall)

The Romans certainly left their mark in Britain, too. Emperor Hadrian built a wall stretching 80 miles, coast to coast from the banks of the River Tyne to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea. This was the northernmost limit of the Roman Empire, and a pretty secure way to keep the wild and angry Ancient Briton tribes from interfering with sophisticated Roman business from the north! The wall lies in ruins today, but here’s a glimpse a how one of the military outposts would have looked.

7 Ancient Ruins Around the World, Reconstructed

Luxor Temple

To Egypt next, and the sacred site of the Luxor Temple – built by Amenhotep III in 1380 BC and pimped up by Rameses II a century later. It remains a stunning place to visit today, although many of Rameses’ frills are long gone – you can still see the granite shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great, obelisks and architraves, and get a sense of the incredible scale. The temple is still used for religious worship, though, and different faiths have passed through its halls over the centuries. Restored in gif format it has all the splendor of a Cecil B. DeMille movie set!

7 Ancient Ruins Around the World, Reconstructed

The Pyramid of the Sun – Teotihuacán

The biggest building in Teotihuacan remains a site of mystery today. Archaeologists know very little about who lived there. Whoever, they were they built the first advanced civilization in the region between 1300-1900 years ago… and then disappeared. Aliens?

7 Ancient Ruins Around the World, Reconstructed

Area Sacra di Largo Argentina – Temple B

Back to Rome, where feral cats have taken custody of the four temples of Area Sacra di Largo Argentina. In 101 BC, Quintus Lutacius Catulus built the structure demarcated Aedes Fortunae Huiusce Diei, or more succinctly ‘Temple B,’ since its rediscovery in 1926; since no-one wants to take on the cats in a battle, it has be restored from the safe distance of an Apple Mac, a bunch of CAD software, and a gif-making program. What a sight!

7 Ancient Ruins Around the World, Reconstructed

Which ancient ruins would you like to see restored to their former glory?